If I can, work permitting, I like to get out on the bike on a Wednesday evening for the Pelican Cycles weekly ride.
It’s aimed at riders capable of keeping a reasonable pace for 30/40 miles. Although new riders are always welcome and will be coaxed along. The group always waits for the slower riders – usually at the top of a climb – and someone will normally ride with them for encouragement. We were all in that position once.
Neil, boss at Pelican Cycles, keeps the route for the evening in his head, which also encourages the faster riders to hang about lest they get lost 🙂
Tonight, as it happens, saw all the riders of a standard that could keep up a good pace so there wasn’t much waiting to do. Although what waiting did occur was due to mechanicals – broken chain on a climb, yes we do put some effort in. And near the very end someone punctured, but each rider carries a spare so it wasn’t a problem.
Probably the highlight of the ride, for me, was the Sheldon climb, or its correct name – Green Lane. It’s opposite Ashford-in-the-Water, on the other side of the A6. I’ve not done this climb before and had no idea what it was like. In these situations, I like to set a steady pace that I can maintain without going into the red. Blowing up half way up a hill is embarrassing in front of your fellow riders who are probably thinking, “I knew he couldn’t maintain that pace.” So best avoided.
Anyway, a couple of other riders came with me, one of whom was chatting away commenting on the squirrels and birds while I just made short grunts, in reply. The chatty ones are the ones who are finding the climb a breeze – I wasn’t.
The thing about doing a climb for the first time is that you don’t know how to pace yourself, because you don’t know how long it goes on for, hence the steady pace, enabling me to, in theory, just keep going.
Near the top the third rider shot past the two of us (sorry, can’t remember his name, young fella) and Mark responded with an explosive sprint – I just kept plodding. Age is a bar steward.
Mind you, it turns out that at my first attempt I managed to produce the fastest time in my age group on Strava, yay!
See below for the overall leaderboard
Great ride, and will have to try to get along to a few more before they stop for the winter.